2019 Hyundai Kona Electric First Drive: The New Normal

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric


Hyundai shows how to make a 258-mile EV a completely normal experience.

As I settled behind the wheel of the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric for our first drive of the Hyundai battery-powered crossover last week, my first task was to check the available range. With 13 out of 16 bars lit up on the dashboard, the vehicle’s computer estimated 220 miles available for our half-day trip on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Let’s pause to consider that number. It’s more than four times the range needed for the 50-mile first drive through the hills of Topanga Canyon and the streets of Santa Monica and West Hollywood. “The highlight about the Kona Electric is the range,” said Gil Castillo, Hyundai’s senior group manager for alternative vehicle strategy. Castillo was along for the ride with us in L.A. He added, “Because of its range, the average consumer doesn’t have to make compromises.”

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona is not a purpose-built electric car, but rather a conventional vehicle that replaces the messy, inefficient internal combustion bits with an electric powertrain. The benefits of that swap were evident as soon I switched the car from Normal to Sport mode – and punched the accelerator. The wheels chirped, spun for a split second, and the Kona took off in a burst of speed.

Because of its range, the average consumer doesn’t have to make compromises.

There is no lack of power in the Kona EV, which delivers 291 foot-pounds of tire-twisting torque, turning the mild-mannered, conventional Kona crossover into a compact SUV that made the twisty L.A. hills a slalom course. The immediate torque of the electric motor was similarly evident when zooming up the ramp to Highway 101, a burst that felt much quicker than the Kona EV’s official zero-to-60 time of 7.6 seconds.

When asked about the attributes that Hyundai wanted to emphasize with the Kona EV, Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s vice-president of product planning, was focused less on impressing performance freaks and more about appealing to average commuters. “We wanted to maintain a good interior size with cargo and interior space for the passengers. At the same time, our target was to be in the top class in terms of range at 258 miles,” said O’Brien.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

He bragged that the Kona EV beats the Chevy Bolt’s 238-range – and lands between the forthcoming $35,000 220-mile version of the Tesla Model 3 that’s expected next year and the longer-range, more expensive 310-mile Tesla Model 3 that’s on sale now. “We wanted to pick the best balance of range and size and capability,” said a sensible O’Brien. “The Kona Electric will allow people to displace a gasoline vehicle in their household, not make this just an additional vehicle.”

The Kona EV is not flashy but it’s practical.

If you’re looking for our first drive to reveal some Tesla-like novelty – perhaps a minimalist dashboard design or over-the-air software magic – you will be disappointed. It’s a Hyundai, folks. The cabin is what you’ll find in a value-oriented, front-wheel-drive small crossover. We don’t yet know the Kona EV’s price, but the gas version of the Kona starts right around $20,000 – so after federal and state incentives, the Kona Electric could dip below $30,000.

The body design – besides using a mesh front fascia (with a spot for the charging port) rather than an open grille – is mostly like its gasoline counterpart. The handling of the car and the feel of the steering wheel were not modified for a connection to the road or to get adrenaline flowing. In other words, the Kona Electric looks and feels like a good, competent, and accessible everyday crossover, which happens to be a long-range battery-powered car. Does that not deserve at least a quiet “Amen?”

The Kona Electric deserves an award for the best-ever EV converted from an internal combustion vehicle.

By the time we reached the Pacific Coast Highway and moved east through Santa Monica, rush hour traffic was starting to build. The Kona will initially sell only in California, where most of its buyers will experience the same mind-numbing congestion that we encountered. The majority of our half-day drive of the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric last week was spent in stop-and-go traffic.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

At first, I wondered why Hyundai decided against an entirely open-road locale for the first Kona EV media event. But as we inched forward for nearly an hour – without any effect on the estimated remaining range – I came to see the choice of L.A. as a gutsy move. While the whole industry is trying to emulate Tesla’s “EVs are cool” message, Hyundai put us in crawling traffic in an economy-oriented SUV to show us just how normal a long-range electric car can be.

If the Kona EV lacks sizzle, let’s not be too quick to criticize. The introduction of Hyundai’s first long-range EV comes after last year’s release of the Ioniq, a dedicated electrified platform that includes a 124-mile all-electric version. The Kona should be viewed as a mid-stream course-correction with two goals: to put a 250-plus mile EV into the market and to shift Hyundai’s electric ambitions into the ultra-popular crossover segment.

Hyundai found room for the EV powertrain in the existing Kona model.

“The Kona Electric is an interim product for Hyundai,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “When they launched the Ioniq program with specs for range, battery size, and weight, you didn’t yet have the Tesla Model 3 or the Chevy Bolt. The Ioniq was already locked in so they probably thought, ‘What else can we do to get that next level of range?”

Hyundai’s Castillo shed light on that hypothesis. He told us that Hyundai did a lot of research to determine the amount of range that would get average consumers to consider an EV. “Two-hundred miles is very much the tipping point,” he said. “Consumers look at big intervals, and 200 is a magic number. After 300, it doesn’t matter at all. So 250 to 300 miles of range is where everyone is focused.”

In that regard, the Kona EV’s adequate creature comforts, familiar dashboard configurations, and unexceptional external styling matter less than Hyundai using an existing crossover model to push the envelope on range. The Kona Electric deserves an award for the best-ever EV converted from an internal combustion vehicle.

Remember the first generation of conversions, such as the Ford Focus Electric, Fiat 500e, and Smart Electric? They could barely make room for 20 or so kilowatt-hours of batteries before compromising cargo space or other features. Fast forward to today, and Hyundai is now able to install a honking 64-kWh pack without sacrificing any comfort. “If we take the idea that this is an interim product, Hyundai executed it extremely well, especially considering that it’s a conversion from an ICE vehicle,” said Abuelsamid.

Paddle shifters control brake regen levels for the Kona Electric.

Every new EV is not going to be a purpose-built electric nameplate. How else will electric cars reach a critical mass? The fact that Hyundai was able to beat the Bolt, which is a dedicated EV, with 20 more miles of range should be seen as a breakthrough. The Kona also has legitimate crossover dimensions – nearly three more feet of cargo than the Bolt and a couple more inches of rear shoulder space.

Missed opportunities

Nonetheless, I was disappointed that Hyundai didn’t make it easier for drivers to access one-pedal driving. The Kona EV has four levels of brake regen, each controlled by a pair of steering-wheel paddles and indicated on the dash by tiny arrows. However, unless you set the car to the highest level regen and firmly hold the left paddle as you come to a stop, the Kona EV will continue to creep forward. In our ride, I gave up on squeezing the paddle at every stop and resorted to friction braking.

Meanwhile, Hyundai created an “Economy-Plus” mode that’s activated by holding down the Economy button for a couple of extra seconds. It had little effect on acceleration and braking, but shut off auxiliary functions in the car such as AC and limited the vehicle’s top speed. I’m guessing that a long drive in Economy-Plus would be uncomfortable but could push the Kona Electric’s range close to 300 miles.

I was disappointed that Hyundai didn’t make it easier for drivers to access one-pedal driving.

Hyundai also apparently did not put much effort into sound-dampening. To my ear, the Kona EV’s road noise and motor pitch are a notch or two louder than the Bolt’s. On the other hand, its external sound-maker used to warn pedestrians when creeping through a parking lot sounds more like a heroic theme song than just an electric sound effect. That’s a nice touch.

Another disappointment is that the Kona EV is not a 50-state vehicle. Sales will commence in the fourth quarter of 2018, with initial distribution in California. That will be followed in mid-2019 with distribution to Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Price has not yet been announced and volume will be modest. “We’ll start small,” Brian Smith, Hyundai Motor America COO, said earlier this year.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

These shortcomings are counterbalanced by the extra consideration that Hyundai put into fast charging. Not only is 75-kW fast charging a standard feature on all trim levels, but the company deployed a robust temperature-management system to allow its frequent use. “There’s a debate about how DC fast charging is not good for a battery,” Jerome Gregeois, Hyundai senior Manager of eco and performance powertrains, told me. “But if you have a good cooling system, then you don’t have an issue. You can use fast charging all the time.” An 80-percent DC fast charge of the Kona EV happens in 54 minutes, which is 25 minutes faster than Hyundai’s tests of Bolt charging. That’s at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If the mercury dips below zero, the Kona EV takes a full DC quick-charge twice as fast as the Bolt.

Hyundai is working on a new, dedicated, all-electric nameplate

The long-range, value-oriented Hyundai Kona EV reveals that Hyundai is not taking a wait-and-see approach to electrification. In fact, Mike O’Brien confirmed that the automaker has a dedicated, all-electric nameplate in the works. Hyundai announced plans for a new long-range EV last year, but it’s reassuring to hear from its product planner that a new ground-up electric car is in process.

You don’t need a rich imagination to get a picture of Hyundai’s upcoming long-range EV. We drove a version of it: the brand-new Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell vehicle (which is, after all, also an electric car). It’s a refined yet muscular crossover with a floating roof canopy and flush door handles. The exterior visual design is sleek without reeking of aerodynamics. The Nexo is Hyundai’s new platform to explore fuel cells and vehicle automation. From the driver’s seat, we enjoyed the high perch, whisper-quiet interior, and high-tech cockpit.

2019 Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric crossover

Imagine taking the Nexo and replacing the fuel-cell electric powertrain with enough batteries for 250 to 300 miles of driving range and a robust quick-charging capability. That EV is only a year or two away. In the meantime, the Kona EV goes on sale before the end of 2018. It might not be a game-changer, but it moves us one step closer to the day when a long-range, comfortable EV is a mundane thing.

ELECTRIC MOTOR: 150 KW (201 HP) / 290 lb-ft Torque
BATTERY: 64.0 kWh
RANGE: 258 Miles
DRIVE TYPE: Front-Wheel Drive
WEIGHT: ~3,850 Pounds
CHARGE TIME: ~9 hrs, 35 min (Level 2)
CARGO VOLUME: 19.2 Cubic Feet

Hyundai Kona Electric

7 photos
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric in Los Angeles

Categories: Hyundai, Test Drives

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

147 Comments on "2019 Hyundai Kona Electric First Drive: The New Normal"

newest oldest most voted

Absolutely perfect EV for many people – shame Hyundai won’t manufacture anywhere enough to meet demand.

It’s got lots of faults to be ironed out, the biggest being its high price. If I lived in a congested area like Los Angeles, I wouldn’t care about how quick it is. A lot of good quickness is in stop and go traffic. I appreciate the effort by Hyundai, but I’d pass this one up for a Toyota hybrid, which is a much better value despite the cost of gasoline.

how is a Toyota Hybrid a much better value when you don’t know the actual MSRP of the EV Kona? Kona should have the full Federal Tax Credit too!!!

No they should not. It’s a national program not in certain states

No the should not. It’s a national program not a carb thing

You Al are so wrong no matter what gas prices are today simply because you have NO idea what gas prices will be tomorrow, next year or next decade. There are no regulatory controls on gas prices whatsoever and there are in nearly every state for electricity.
And hello?? The best fossil fuel only vehicle is less than half as efficient as this Kona ev. Purchase cost is just one of the costs or operating a vehicle….not to mention all the incentives for leasing or buying a Kona ev.

It’s what you get from launching a big battery car in a battery production shortage market, no way to produce serious numbers. For now it’s mostly targeted at markets with high incentives and compliance needs.

Nope. Sell it nationwide

Nice pretext to avoid producing them massively. The battery is the ONLY part of an EV that can be used to delay EVs.

That’s a bunch of crap…Tesla n Chinese bevs builders are bukilding massive quantities of bevs with no problems. Hyundai is simply playing the greenwashing, compliance vehicle game like all others, besides Tesla, in the USA have done for two decades. Having the most efficient bev, ioniq ev, and the potentially best in its class bev, Kona ev, does not make much difference if you don’t build even enough to supply demand let alone really try to get more of these bevs on the road instead of your Dino juice jalopies.

In the US, get a Bolt. Very similar cars.

I can’t get one so it’s hard to get excited.


Same here. I just keep telling myself its kind of ugly. Seems to help…

This will be going head to head with the Kiro and Leaf II+, also with the ~60kWh LG powertrain.

For my daily driver, I’d take my 2018 Leaf’s great e-Pedal no-touch braking over an extra 80 miles of range I don’t need on workdays.

I agree that 50kWh, liquid cooling, and super fast charging is going to be table stakes going forward for BEVs but for 2018 I am happy with the $27,000 + tax – gov’t rebates I paid for my Leaf.

Remains to be seen if these nifty LG cars (and 50kWh Model 3 for that matter) will come within $10,000 of the OTD I got with my Leaf. If so, I shoulda waited. If not, I’m sitting perfectly good, with most of my powder saved for a 2nd vehicle more suitable for that weekend use.

I just passed 6 months in my 2018 Leaf SV, and my wife and I feel much the way you do. We love the car and it has enough range to meet our needs with a comfortable margin to spare. We were torn between a Leaf (our second) and a Bolt, but went with a Leaf for several reasons, including local dealer support and a discount we got thanks to my wife’s employer.

But looking forward, I can see us replacing my Leaf with a Kona EV (in red, please) or a 60kWh Leaf or even a Bolt, assuming the local dealers get their act together and GM fixes the relatively minor things we didn’t like about the Bolt.

Hyundai/Kia are positioned to do a lot to advance vehicle electrification in the US, as they have what seem to be very good BEVs that don’t compete (much) with other vehicles of theirs in the same price range. Now if they will get off their butts and build them in decent numbers and sell them in most or (dare I say it) all US states, we’d really be cookin’ with electrons.

But sometimes it’s nice to talk about how a new vehicle will or will not impact other’s lifestyles, not just ourselves.

So ugly. Hyundai’s design team is getting steamrolled by Kia.

It looks awesome, but not in grey. The greenish looks really really good.

I personally think it’s a busy design and somehow looks best in Grey.

KIA is Hyundai ! Just Buy a KIA Niro …Same Car , Same company ,Different Name & Design ..

Same car? You might want to look at the two in the real world. You will discover some “small” differences. 😉

Yeah…super ugly, that’s why I see dozens of the 2018 Kona ICE model driving around. People love buying ugly cars….

Actually, it seems people DO love buying ugly cars. The Nissan Juke, the Pontiac Aztek, the Toyota Echo… There’s no accounting for taste.

Toyota Prius and Mirai. Ugh.

Some people are function over form kind of guys.

Hi. Any way I can talk you into having a different handle? James1, or JamesEV, or ?

Just that I’ve been James here for as many moons as IEVs has been a website and we’ll be confused for one another.

I don’t like SUV’s/ Cross overs, and I don’t like the look of that car. But I could get over that. I think.

Then I see that picture of the interior. Like being teleported back in time to the 80’s. I think I’ll pass.

Great job Franz, you’ve made every other car interior obsolete and now I’ll never be able to drive a normal car without the feeling of driving some steam-powered retro tech thing.

Not everyone likes the Minimalist look so IMHO it is good to have a choice. As for the steam powered retro-thing, driving a Steam Powered Vehicle can be a lot of fun.

Although that’s true, they could at least try to make it look like things have changed in 25 years on car interiors. I see this as a mid-90’s Ford Taurus on the interior. And yes, I am spoiled now. The UI differences with… a Tesla for example, are like Star Trek: TOS versus Star Trek: TNG. I would like to see a move away from so many physical buttons. I also really, really like less “air-vent inspired” dashboards.

Physical buttons have one important advantage as compared to touchscreens, IMO: if I’m driving, and need to change one of those settings, I can do so by feel, while keeping my eyes on the road. A touchscreen, you need to either look at it to aim your fingers, or have really internalized the muscle memory.

Of course physical buttons have advantages. Some people have drank the Tesla kool-aid.

To be fair. It’s the interior of a $19k USD car. Cheap is expected. It become an argument of would you like less of something but higher quality or more of something with lower quality. Reminds me of fast food vs decent food.

Oh I get it. It’s not a Tesla.

The Koreans are the joker in the pack, I think they are really going to surprise the other mainstream car companies. No hype about concept cars 10 years off, just solid understated progress.

I wish they had a decent volume though…

You are so blind Nick to think that this and other Hyundai company bevs will be produced in any quantity higher than they need to EXACTLY comply with govt regs. Let’s hope they evolve that stance next decade n build more to replace their Dino juice jalopy offerings.

I understand your point but these cars are at the sweet spot of what the average buyer wants (high efficiency, long range, relatively sensible price) and at some point they will be selling them seriously.

Nick is so Blind 28 people approve and 4 do not.

I’d say Nick might be spot on.

Make that 46 👍🏼


They’re the joke if they can’t get their volumes to anything meaningful. They need to prove that the Kona isn’t another Ioniq Electric. Average 35 cars sold a month in all of North America ….

Excellent article! The non EV enthusiast public can easily get behind the wheel and “just drive”. I think this could sell quite well in all 50 states, but the EV premium price has to be reasonable, maybe $27,500 to match the ICE version for those with a $7,500 tax burden. Then it’s a no brainer.

One concern I have is in the spec list. When companies, salespersons, and publishers (Insideevs, too) state the level 2 charge time, there needs to be clarification that the time specified is for a fully discharged battery. An average driver may balk at the 9.5 hour time at first, not realizing that the charging time varies in proportion to the state of charge/ miles driven. Maybe Insideevs can simply add this detail themselves using ( ).

The only people out there that need a $7,500 tax break are those that make at least 80,000 a year, if not well into the six-figure range. And that is not the target audience for a Kona EV. This is for the customers that make at best $40,000 to $50,000 a year, that get an income tax return as opposed to owing. You can’t reach the mainstream market if you only cater to those who make six figures or more. That’s not the mainstream market…

Sorry, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion someone making $40k-$50k each year should spend 60%-70% of their gross income on a new vehicle. While I’m sure there are some who will, this car is very much for someone making enough to have at least a $7.5k tax burden. I’m fortunate enough to earn a low six-figure salary, and this is definitely a vehicle I’ll be cross-shopping in the next year or two; as a new car, it would never be more than a pipe dream if I earned just $50k. This would easily cover my daily commute, and most every other trip I make each year (quarterly 800 mile round-trip excursions would require DC quick charging).

You have no idea how many people stretched on exactly that kind of annual income to buy a Tesla in 2012/2013. The trick is to own the car longer than seven years, it’s a 10-20 year investment, so it annualizes nicely. I am free and clear on my Model S and love the fact that it won’t rust to pieces (yay, Aluminium!), blow a gasket, or have a transmission problem and leak fluids all over the place. If you go to Teslamotorsclub.com there was a long thread on “stretched to buy.”

There are some tricks to doing this, like making a lunch every day, eliminating cable service, reviewing cell phone plans, changing vacation strategies (road trips to family are much cheaper than a trip to WDW, for instance), and living in a greater degree of general austerity. However, the #1 approach here is to pay off your existing debts. The average debt load for an American is rather high, college often being the greatest offender.

You’re right: many things are possible, IF one is willing to make enough sacrifices.

I’ve sacrificed not owning a Tesla. It allows me to have cable, the latest cell phone, trips to WDW (where ever that is), and I can go out to lunch when I please-where I please. All with a paid off car and no debt aside from the mortgage. The Return on Happiness (ROH) has been worth it. 😉

“that get an income tax return as opposed to owing” = one of the most common misconceptions about the tax credit

It’s best to lease then

It’s best to lease

That’s why when people ask how long it takes to charge my Bolt, I answer “about 5 seconds”. When they almost always respond by going “What?? How can that be?” I explain that is how long it takes for me to plug in my Bolt at home after I get out of the car. I then go on and explain how it can take up to 9 hours to recharge it fully, but that usually it is never depleted that much and usually takes much less time to charge. And regardless, it will be fully recharged by the next morning.

And that’s all it’ll ever be – a citymobile commuter, unless you want that concert fiasco again.

As a commuter car, the Leaf is more comfortable and spacious.
This Hyundai has potential.

The Gen 1 Leaf is an example of a “citymobile commuter”. Unless you have one of the early Leafs with horrible degradation that has a range similar to a 35 mile Gen 1 Volt. I can travel to destinations 4-5 states away with just a single, 30-40 minute fast charge in my Bolt. I don’t know why you lame-o’s keep trying to spread FUD the Bolt is merely a commuter car. Oh wait, I do know why.

I feel bad for Chevy because the Bolt is a great EV that doesn’t get enough respect. That being said, I wish the fast charging situation was improved. It starts to taper too soon at 50-60%, whereas other EVs taper only slightly, and wait until 80% to really put the brakes on. I don’t think that would stop me from picking up a cheap used one though! 😛

That lack of respect starts with how they treat their potential customers ‼️

“I do know why”, Fast Charge tapering at 50-60%, Bro Bolt Boy, is now attempting to throw shade on the so called FUD spreading “lame-o’s”.

This should start to get really interesting, when the Kona becomes the LG Chem battery DC fast charge leader, leaving the Bolt as an also ran, and “merely a commuter car”.

Given GM has the largest battery lab of any car manufacture. I would trust how GM is using LG Chems batteries more than Kia/Hyundai. I assume the batteries in the Bolt and Kona are very similar. What does GM know that Kia doesn’t? Why didn’t GM want to push the batteries?

I am only teasing bro1999 because he is the great GM apologist and Tesla hater. We should all be happy there are more BEVs coming out.

Seriously though, I speak only from personal experience. As a commuter BEV, we don’t care about DCFC. We charge at home (as you said). The Bolt is less spacious and comfortable. My colleagues agree.

So I am hoping this Hyundai, being built on a ICE platform doesn’t compromise too much to cram in a battery pack.

The Kona is nearly the same size as the Bolt. Kona appears to have some less interior room than the Bolt.

Still, it’s something that all EV owners get, but no one else looking to get one seems to catch.

The manufacturer approach doesn’t help much, telling people the MAXIMUM time it COULD take to do it, while in fact it’s an exceptional case.
I don’t know why they scare people whit that?

I think the manufacturers list the “worst case scenario” so their customers can’t come back and whine about it later.

What a shocker would be if pricing comes in line with the Leaf. Seeing what he are doing with the Ionic it’s hard to get excited by this launch. When the gasser is $20k you better not make this over $35k otherwise it will be dead in the water and only ev enthusiasts will get it.

But that is the surplus an EV costs. The Model 3 is completely empty inside for a reason.

Eventually electric cars needs to come down in price. Averaging 40k isn’t going to attract consumers that are lucky to make $30,000 a year…

“Averaging 40k isn’t going to attract consumers that are lucky to make $30,000 a year…”

Of course, but the manufacturers must go where the market is. Still, completely price competitive EVs are currently available on either end of the price spectrum. For no real compromise for most users, EVs are nearing mid-market. For the low end of the market, EVs currently come with a compromised range. As battery prices decline, the range compromise for low end products decreases while the fully competitive products are available at lower and lower price levels. As the sales growth is showing, there is plenty of market for EVs on either end of the spectrum while the key battery input price continues to decline. Battery prices show no sign of slowing anytime the next decade. Total cost ownership makes these vehicles much more competitive than they appear at purchase anyhow.

They are not. The eGolf and the 500e are the cheapest we got in CA and still are $10k over gassers without credits…we can’t keep having credits forever. There is also an argument to be made about the gassers being cheap because they don’t pay for the pollution they cause but that’s another discussion.

Model3 Owned- Niro EV TBD -Past-500e and Spark EV,

Ah, but the ‘secret’ behind the 500e was the lease terms. No way could any other lease touch that or the old Spark EV.

Sorry, but people making $30k/yr are not buying new cars. They are buying used cars. Or taking public transportation or riding a bike.

Do consumers who are lucky to make $30,000 a year buy new cars of any kind?
Sorry, but for carmakers they don’t exist.

Well, some people apparently buy the base model of the cheapest cars. I’ve seen enough Mitsubishi Mirages to know that some people will put up with any kind of torture as long as they get that new car smell.

I see rapid depreciation for today’s EV’s within the next 5 years as better EV’s at lower prices come to market.

Your cristal ball is broken. I see rapid depreciation for all cars.

That bare dash and big screen in the Model 3 would be a deal killer for me If I were interested in one, I’d want more instrumentation, buttons, switches, knobs, and vents to give me easier and better control of everything. I’d also want a smaller screen better integrated into the center console. Tesla cut way too many corners in the Model 3, as far as I’m concerned.

Ha, Ha – wake up geezer – the world is a changin

Different strokes for different folks. I’m glad that there is a variety of options out there to choose from. There’s no way to make something that will appeal to 100% of the population. I *love* the minimalism of the model 3, and I drive a model S. If you don’t like them, then you are free to purchase from someone else.

Model 3 is zero surplus over gas cars in its class.

The fact that the interior and tech are far better is icing on the cake.

Article already stated that they are targeting between the $35k SR Model 3, and the $44k LR Model 3. So very similar to Bolt EV pricing.

Pricing is the art of matching the demand to supply. Since Hyundai can’t make enough Konas to match the demand with current price, arguably the price is too low.

We can assume the demand will fizzle once M3 Standard Range starts being made in volumes (and not just leftover capacity from more profitable variants). Then will be the time for Hyundai/Kia to adjust pricing.

Its hwy efficiency is actually worse than the Bolt. According to the fuel economy website, both Kona and Bolt uses about 28kWh per 100 miles.

It’s way more comfortable than that Chevy can is. I’ve been in a Kona before, is actually very comfortable. The Bolt? Not so much…

What is a Chevy can and in what way is the Kona, in which you have been before, more comfortable?

Thank you, joiicordero. I now see what you mean 😛

However, most people looking at EV cars look at range, not the kWH usage per 100 miles.

If building only limited amounts and starving high demand markets of product is new normal then I am sorry, this strategy has already been perfected by GM.

The new normal will be selling to markets where it is easy to sell BEV, like Europe and East-Asia.
North-America with its outdated dealer system is out of luck.

And it’s outdated rollbacks of environmental protections and emissions standards,…

“but rather a conventional vehicle that replaces the messy, inefficient internal combustion bits with an electric powertrain.” Ok, I’m all for electric cars being developed and put out there, but if you think downplaying a power plant design that has worked solidly for the past hundred years, and that still has a greater range and better ease of operation then an electric motor to this day is a good way to promote sales of a power plant that has still been fairly alien and uncomfortable for most consumers, please think again. Personally, as an auto enthusiast, I find it deterring whenever I hear an electric car enthusiast insult what I have known be the identity of cars, and that I have been quite passionate about. And even for those that are not auto enthusiasts, they are still way more familiar and comfortable generally speaking with that “messy, inefficient” power plant than they are with one that still takes an hour to charge for a 200 (or so) mile range, meanwhile a gasoline-powered car still takes only 5 minutes to fill up for well over a 300 mile range. Can we have some respect for the automobile as it has been… Read more »

The survival of your grandchildren depends on that thinking being put aside for some hard realities.
> http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/ <

You don’t help anybody affected by climate change, just your own ego by making and buying 100 kWh (around 17 tonnes of CO2) batteries for each car.

You do by building Gigafactories that reduce that amount greatly.

Yet we are discussing a car with a 64 kwh battery pack and comparing it to cars with 50 kwh battery packs. If you can’t keep that straight then why should I trust you to not cherry-pick “studies” commissioned by Big Oil to minimize its crimes?

“better ease of operation then an electric motor to this day is a good way to promote sales of a power plant that has still been fairly alien and uncomfortable for most consumers,”
FFV are cumbersome to drive and a core to fill up. That is the truth many people are learning at the moment.
When the price premium for BEV diminishes why would anybody buy those outdated vehicles?

The horse and buggy fulfilled an important role for centuries, but were replaced in a decade when something better became widely available.

And for those whining about costs, recall that the person making median income when cars first became widely available could not afford them. He stuck to his horse or his trolley ride until the Model T arrived. We’re not going to have a price decline that spectacular because Ford was pioneering the fundamental economies of scale of building a large metal box in a giant factory, which are now well understood by manufacturers. However, the cost of building an ICE with ever-more elaborate transmissions and cylinder heads and emissions systems that will be mandated by governments worldwide will rise and meet the cost of EVs coming down.

It sounds like you are more of a gas engine enthusiast than an auto enthusiast.

I’ve loved cars since I was a toddler and I’m SUPER excited about electric cars. They drive better (endless torque at all speeds), lower CG, no shifting lag, no vibrations, silent like a ninja, I can recharge conveniently in my own garage, and the “fuel” is like 1/3 the cost of gas.

A quantum leap better than gas cars!

We are talking about a design that is only 20% efficient, makes loud noises, smells, bad, has helped contribute to global warming on a massively large scale. Kills over 5000+ people in Europe due to exhaust pollution and has only the required safety and fuel efficient features due to being mandated by govt. All ICE fanboys chant in unison. ICE vehicles are Great.

“ a power plant that has still been fairly alien and uncomfortable for most consumers,”

Alien? Perhaps but not in a bad way. Alien as in the same way super car performance is alien to most….but uncomfortable? Not a chance. The electric drive train is superior in all aspects today except the battery it requires in a BEV. You can legitimately criticize BEVs as being expensive, slow refueling, and having limited selection/availability but it is disingenuous to not recognize they are superior to ICE in virtually every other aspect.

Obviously you have an emotional attachment to ICE which is fine. In the future I’m sure many who can afford to keep an ICEV around will just as people keep Model Ts and horses today.

The engine compartment of the modern car has become a very alien place for American men over the last 50 years. You can’t even see the engine anymore under its giant air-filter cover and electronics. No one understands all the electronics that have been added to engines, and fewer and fewer people understand how internal combustion engines themselves actually work. It’s not like 1950 when millions of young men had some experience with a flathead Ford, and hung out with their buddies in a driveway messing with cars.

I am surprise of all the bad comment here, everyone should be happy to see that Hyundai came out with something decent.
You may not like SUV, but a lot of peoples do, this is a very popular segment and now there is an option (will) for peoples who wants an affordable electric SUV.

I think it is a very good move from Hyundai, because in an SUV, you do have room to put bigger battery pack; no big R&D, use what you have and electrify it, then you will have time to design one from ground up and not miss the boat.

Ignore them They’re Tesla obsessive hypocrites and don’t really care about EV’s. If a car turns up that might threaten them they do and say everything they can to put them down, just like they claim everyone else is doing to them.

There it is – I was surprised it took so long for the Tesla bashing to start.

I consider myself a Tesla fan too, I would have a model S (P100D of course) if I could afford it, but if every manufacturers start building decent EVs ( not compliance car), it could only be good for Tesla and EV in general

To me it looks like Hyundai and Kia are on the path of EVolutionizing their fleet instead of rEVolutionizing it, hence the multiple baskets they put their electrified eggs into. We know for sure that the Ioniq, the Niro and the Kona have been developed to accommodate multiple powertrains (ICE, plain hybrid, PHEV and BEV in various permutations). Meantime they are also working on FCEV. Also let’s note that all their EV’s look completely normal in the eyes of a the regular consumer.

Its not an SUV or even a crossover. It’s a hatchback, just like the Bolt EV.

Those are all made-up advertising terms from the public’s point of view. The public believes what it wants to believe or is brainwashed to want to believe. Tail fins, muscle cars, suburban monster trucks. That’s what Detroit does for a living, manufacture fads that the foreigners then jump on and do better.

We might as well have kept making cars shaped like a Model T sedan with a simple hatch added to the back for the last 100 years. Compare the overall dimensions to modern crossovers.

Love it. Mine is on order

Nice EVs, I want one.

This looks great, but it won’t matter if they only make 10,000 a year.

“won’t matter if they only make 10,000 a year.”

FWIW I believe their production target was ~20k for 2018. While the are likely to come up short of that target they will almost certainly surpass 10,000 vehicles for the year this month and have a ramp of about 10 times that of the Tesla M3’s first six months.

With that being said California will be lucky to get a 1,000 of these this year.

Well done Hyundai!
This is exactly what the world needs: Reasonably affordable long range EVs (hopefully the even more affordable >20-25k segment comes within reach soon with the improvement of economies of scale driven by cars like this).
Keep on trucking Hyundai!

Interesting vehicle! I hope they build more than we think they will. And 75 kW charging should be seen as as a minimum. The next Bolt should meet this standard, at least.

Are they still outsourcing batteries to LG Chem? Because AFAICT battery production is 80% of the game when it comes to building EVs. And without a serious commitment to building batteries, Hyundai will be stuck in the low 5 figures of production, i.e. they’ll be a non-player in much of the US.

It should be interesting to see if ALL of the LG Chem 60 kWh + battery supplied cars, i.e. Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf (60kWh), and Hyundai Kona, etc., here in North America ONLY, will be available in their total combined numbers, to be able to match just the Tesla Model 3 (Short Range) production/sales numbers, by the end of the 2019 model year.

It all comes down to how fast LG Chem has planned to expand capacity. They see how huge the market could be, so I imagine they are trying to expand as fast as they can without leaving themselves vulnerable to a sudden lack of demand, or a plateau in demand that makes a rapid build up in capacity a waste of money.
It could be that for the short term, Tesla is going to simply dominate the market and the also rans will never get any sales traction. I hope not.

So sad this is a compliance vehicle.

Not ready for prime time, but it’s a good start that could have been better if Hyundai concentrated on isolating road noise and other things like that ugly front end and strange center console setup. I’d prefer that screen be much better integrated. Of course, the high cost will make most people in areas with traffic congestion opt for a Prius or some other hybrid.

Lack of decent Hyundai Kona supply and availability, will force many prospective buyers into hopefully a decent PHEV, and hopefully not a shorter EV range Prius Prime. Something better like a Chevy Volt, Honda Clarity, or Chrysler Pacifica, that has at least a minimum, and decent 30-40+ mi. real world range.

This is the sort of car that is going to make EV’s popular. The vast majority of people don’t want some super edgy clown car looking thing, they just want a car that works with the least fuss possible.

This is also another example of how converting ICE platforms into EV’s isn’t as horrific as some people seem to think. Its right to say that purpose built EV’s are the best way forward, but to suggest that converting ICE to EV is a terrible and inefficient idea like many do is massively incorrect.

Without knowing the price it’s impossible to say it would be popular. Love the looks too!

It’s also not a straight conversion. They planned the platform to support multiple drivetrains from the beginning. ICE, PHEV, and BEV. Still some compromises, but fewer.

“We’ll start small”
“Hyundai is not taking a wait-and-see approach to electrification”

Q: So, which is it?
A: They’ll stay small.

What a bad joke – so much ink spilled for cars nobody can buy. The Ioniq EV has been out for a while now, and has averaged *30* units a month. Hyundai/Kia are not serious players in this market, despite the hype.

“ so much ink spilled for cars nobody can buy. The Ioniq EV has been out for a while now, and has averaged *30* units a month. ”

The Ioniq BEV will sell over 20k units this year. Likewise for the Ioniq pHEV. With several models available, in short supply, and more models coming, one would like to see Hyundai/Kia sign a significantly larger deal with LG or some other battery supplier.

You know Hyundai and Kia don’t just sell cars in the U.S. right?

What a bad joke – so much ink spilled for cars nobody can buy. The Model 3 has been out for a while now, and has averaged *0* units a month. Tesla is not a serious player in this* market, despite the hype.


That front end….yikes.

Like people who consider buying one care about front end looks or panel gaps. These two topics are created myth, so there’s something to write or blab about …

He drives a Bolt for crying out loud!

The front charging looks awkward.

Leaf has it for years. SJC, you know it’s not gasoline you put in it, right?

Just talking your language, man!

Your attempt at sarcasm did not work.

Where did they put the batteries? 64 kWh takes up some room.

Like I said, if it’s not in dealers nationwide then they should not get a tax credit on thier EVs

It would hurt public perception when only a small percentage of qualifying tax payers have access to the tax credit due to self imposed availability by the manufacturer.

Like I said, if it’s not in dealers in nationwide they should not get the tax credit

Thank you for the good review – especially appreciated the EV-related details, especially the regen discussion. Agree with previous posters that charging time is a complete non-issue and max charge rate only becomes important during extended road trips. At present, Hyundai dealers in the SF Bay Area are clueless as to Kona availability, have no “waiting list”, and the Hyundai Kona website signup has provided no feedback to date.

Hmmm, I think you might be optimistic on the pricing expectations. Here in New Zealand the Kona electric sells for more than double the price of the base model ICE Kona. Great car, love the styling, but I was shocked at the price.

Take a look at the cities states and counties that have given a date for banning all diesel and diesel and gasoline in the future. ICE future and fossil fuels are certainly dying.


Now, we just need Hyundai to boost production up to 5,000 a week, then, they might be able to satisfy EV demand. But no, instead Hyundai has chosen to produce small numbers of them, and only sell in CARB states(I know, they sell in Europe as well, but the US has a population equivalent to all of Europe).

Kona Electric is a good EV, but certainly not the first to show “the new normal”. The Bolt EV was and is highly praised for just being a good car.

Why do this reviewers think that EVs are going to be abnormal?

They are revealing their anti-EV bias.

They’re still in the second stage of grief. A lot of others are in the third (anger) and spread FUD about EV’s. “Powered by coal” “Lithium Mines” “Toxic battery disposal” etc.

It’s funny the writer says “The fact that Hyundai was able to beat the Bolt, which is a dedicated EV, with 20 more miles of range should be seen as a breakthrough.” It’s not a breakthrough. The car is slower 0-60MPH, and has a larger battery. I image the Bolt would have similar range if GM added an eco mode to the Bolt.

“The new normal” won’t be available throughout most of the country.

Translation: “We want you to go buy something else.”

Even with the 260 mile EV range I would not get rid of my family ICE. My wife and I take day trips to Seattle from Portland and it is about 360 miles round trip. It takes 1 stop for gas on the way back and it takes only 5 minutes.
For $40K, you can buy a lot more luxury ICE.
My 24 kwh Leaf serves well for daily commute to work. 2015 Leaf with 70 mile range can be bought for about $11000. If I take care of it, the battery should serve me 10+ years for my <30mile daily commute.

The limiting factor will be the supply of battery packs for the vehicles. It is why Musk first built the Tesla battery factory and then the high volume Model 3 car. I had an order in for a Tesla Model 3 but seeing that the interior dash controls were accessed only from the LCD display I cancelled the order. I rented a Jeep Cherokee where to change the fan speed I had to go to a menu and select the fan and then select the speed. Dumb user interface for making changes while actually driving the car. Greatly prefer the UI of the Kona EV.

The sound of sour grapes being mashed into “WHINE” is evident from many posts previous to this one. The Kona EV arrived in Fresno last week with a bang – a “Big Bang” to say the least. Why, because all the crap about “I’m so happy with the limited range of my what-EVER…” is just that crap. Everyone knows the Kona EV is the only real competition Tesla has – it cost a LOT less even with inflated introductory pricing, and has MORE than an honest 258 EPA rated mile range – mine showed 271 miles available well below 100% charged! Plus, unlike Tesla that could go tits-up tomorrow, Hyundai isn’t going out of business anytime soon – or later. Kona EV comes with Hyundai’s exceptional warranty that they actually honor IF ever needed (unlike Toyota, Nissan, and Honda), and what exactly IS the battery warranty on the new Kona EV? Anyone? That’s right – LIFETIME! Considering the battery IS the heart of an electric vehicle, I’d say that pretty well covers the bases! The Kona comes with a REAL electric motor – 201 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque is SERIOUS…the car will easily break the tries loose upon… Read more »

Hyundai Kona EV at 4.6 miles per KW = 294 miles range on a 64 KWh battery. That’s potentially THREE 80 mile round-trip commutes with 20% battery power remaining!
Using the Supplied 120v 12A chager one can easily put 40+ miles back in the pack overnight which means one could basically do an 80 mile commute for five days in a row no problem! With a 240V 40A level 2 charger the Kona can make three days of 80 mile commute then recharge to 100% overnight – under 10 hours. For more EV-savvy operators, instead of driving ’till empty then doing a “fill-up” of electrons, the right answer is to charge a little here and there. Using a L2 charger 3 hours a night basically keeps the Kona EV ready for a full-range trip every morning.
Put into perspective, the Kona EV can drive from Fresno, CA to Santa Cruz using a little over half a charge at best efficiency, or with about 100 miles reserve at normal efficiency. A “top-off” using a L2 DCFC will bring the battery from 35% to 80% in about 40 minutes making the Kona ready for the drive home.

Sorry, I meant L3 DCFC in the previous post.
During my daily commute to work I can easily maintain 4.2 miles per KW, and even running 70 mph on the freeway come in around 3.8-.9 miles per KW. Since the Kona’s EPA range is based on 4 miles per KW, if you’re averaging over that you’re going father per charge. Right now my “average” is 4.2 mi/KW for ALL types of driving.
Stop and go driving is best for efficiency because speed is generally less than 50 mph and the frequent stops pump energy back into the pack. Highway mileage is less, however I’ve discovered it’s best to run ZERO regen and make use of pedal lifts to coast freely. This technique makes it easy to exceed 4 mi/KW unless one is in a hurry.
The Kona EV will easily cruise at 75-80 mph with surprising efficiency. In fact I need to do a full commute running at 80 to establish a baseline.